Too Much Trouble
Inspired by everyone's favorite Orange Yurble. Send comments my way!
The Yurble Janitor tapped the soles of his stunning gold flip-flops gently on the linoleum tiles within the Hall of Heroes. A redwood mop was snug between the first two fingers on his right hand; an enormous bucket full of crystal-clear Altadorian sea water was hanging by its dazzling silver handle in his left. Beads of sweat glistened on the edges of his swirly ears. The janitor had only finished sweeping away the remnants of the once sixth statue that stood at the front of the Hall of Heroes. The betrayer, the lonely Yurble thought to himself. How fitting she should be blown to pieces. Serves her right.
His eyes stared into the dim hallway that he was facing. The doors that opened into the Park District would soon be aglow with the sunlight that came in. Noise was already drifting into his ears. “No, me first, Bella!” “I wanna see it, Mommy! I gotsta!” “Come on, ladies first!” The drone was far too much to bear. The sandals moved over to the right as the Yurble tripped up the stairs, his blazing orange fur dimming as he made his way up to the top floor of the observatory.
Out of politeness, which he had very little of, the Yurble knocked on the solid oak door. The voice of the blue Wocky within was barely audible, but the Yurble took it as a “Come in!” He shoved open the door to find the Wocky bent over a stone table and sheet of yellowed paper, making notes on the sketches he had been making the night before. Only the Wocky’s ears indicated anything about noticing the janitor’s entrance. He came in to dust the observatory daily before leaving the astronomer to his work. On occasion, the astronomer had attempted conversation, only to be met with a few grunts and a slosh from the bucket. The Yurble wasn’t into conversing much.
Much to his surprise, the Yurble found the observatory spotless. It took him a few more seconds to realize that a tall, sturdy broom was leaning against the wall. Even the deep blues of the night sky that the Wocky’s coat reminded him of was prim and proper – quite unusual for someone who spends half their time in the attic of an ancient building. But it was to be expected from someone so formal. It was the first visiting day in a long time to the Hall of Heroes.
Obviously happy with his surprise, the Wocky tried to spark a conversation for the tenth time that week. “Ought to be a good crowd today, eh?” His words were inviting, but the janitor blew them off, inspecting the window for any new dust. Sweeping the finger of his left hand across, he found absolutely nothing.
“Astounding,” he murmured. “It’s the one day a year you’ll bother to clean for me.” He rolled his eyes at the fact that the Wocky was acting at his level. Why, ever since his article for the Altadorian Journal of Astronomy had gotten in, it was like he was second only to King Altador! “And no, I’m not looking forward to crowds.” The water sloshed as he began to make his way downstairs. The Wocky followed silently, hoping that his presence would excite the crowds.
The janitor then made his way across to the council chamber. All of the heroes had finally returned, and they all made forced smiles to greet the only company they had besides the Astronomy Club.
“Why, hello,” Altador greeted him warmly. “How are you today?”
His kind welcome was met with a grunt. The Yurble hit each tree with the handle of his mop at an attempt to dislodge spider webs. As with the observatory, he was met with not a speck of dust in the entire place. He grunted again. Why is everyone doing my job today? Visitors aren’t that important. His thoughts wandered until he ran straight into the blue Wocky.
“STALKING DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!” he cried in alarm, and chased the Wocky back upstairs with his mop. He was fuming by the time he got to the front door, fumbling with the rotting wood plank that was the only defense he had left against the endless crowds.
Needless to say, the light that flooded in was blinding. The screams that had been only echoes outside rebounded off the walls and across the room, making the janitor’s head throb. He slinked off to the shadows as the crowds oohed and aahed at the statues.
The blue Wocky was already up front, willing to take a few people on tour of the upper reaches of the Hall of Heroes. His smile warmed many hearts. A few Neopets pushed on to the observatory while others swarmed around. Endless voices cried with glee and excitement while hundreds more flooded inward. Some went to see the council chamber; others tried to squeeze up the stairs.
The Yurble’s ears quivered when silence replaced the endless yells. Curiosity overtook him and he leaned out, ears still quivering, anxious to find the source of the silence.
Jerdana was standing beside King Altador on a podium, her eyes glowing as bright as ever. Her blue fur glistened in the sunlight. In contrast, King Altador’s fur was dull and boring, yet all eyes focused in on him. The janitor took a few steps forward.
“Welcome, my fellow Altadorians, and let me welcome those from far off lands as well. As I’m sure you know, today is the grand opening of the Hall of Heroes for the first time in many years. Not since we have awakened has this hall been open to anyone but the most persuasive of Neopets.
“I have never seen so many happy faces around me.” He smiled luminously before continuing. “I know you all think that it was the other ten founders and I who fixed this place up for reopening, but it was not.” Jerdana turned to stare intently at the janitor. “In fact, all of our thanks go to the resident head janitor.”
Applause filled the room and the ringing in the Yurble’s head returned as he stumbled to the light. He gave a small bow before disappearing back into the darkness.
The crowd dissipated after the speech, giving the Yurble some breathing room and a good reason to begin his mopping rounds. He began by washing the statues, starting at the destroyed statue and ending at Torakor. When he was certain each one was clean, he moved onto the mopping the floor before climbing the many flights of stairs.
The last few visitors disappeared as soon as he entered, the sloshing water giving away his entrance. The only one that remained was the astronomer, his eye nearly glued to the telescope. His free hand darted over the paper, making notes about how this star was facing and how the moon was a crescent tonight. It took a few minutes for the Wocky to acknowledge the janitor’s appearance, and when he did, he made another attempt at conversation. “So, you got a round of applause today. Feels great, doesn’t it.”
The Yurble janitor cast him a dirty look before making his way back downstairs. “Nah,” he sighed. “Too much trouble.”